Monday, 29 December 2008

Tis The Season

Another year and another struggle through that festive season - I can't deny that being forced back into a fambly that contains children does not have it's difficulties, especially when one member of that fambly steadfastly denies the non-existence of Santee Claus through nothing more than pure obstinance.  Still managed to have a relatively enjoyable and mostly relaxed evening - helped by my first trip on the back of a tricked out Harley Davidson (they're a lot louder than a well tuned fixie but still pretty cool).   Finished off the evening with a poker game (sans money) and despite the chips ebbing and flowing finished it with a hand that belongs in a movie - got dealt pocket 10s which was given a bit of excitement by my opponent going all in (with a pair of his own, perhaps ...) - we decided to play it open and wasn't I happy when the first two cards of the flop turned out to be a 10 and another 10!  It seemed all over but we put down the river and the other one and I was a bit chagrined to find that the fourth card out was another 10.  That's what happens when you play with two decks of cards.  As the proper deck had not been tampered with we decided to go with it, can't remember what it was, but I it still went to me.  But it got me thinking that that belongs on the silver screen.  Back on the bike, kind of, not really admitting it, getting a bit too stressed for what is supposed to be a time of chillin' but hoping that these things will improve.

Friday, 26 December 2008

I'm outraged at the outrage ...

Outrage at Ahmadinejad's TV Christmas message - World -

I listened to Ahmad ... Ahamn id i ... Ahmind ... the Iranian president's speech and whilst I don't speak Farsi the translation didn't really seem to be that outrageous at all.  The western powers better be careful about what they choose to be outraged about because if they consistently whine about relatively innocuous and inclusive comments like this man's speech all they're going to do is make him seem reasonable and a better alternative to them.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Tis The Season To Say Bah, Humbug

Combination of the distractions of the confidential world plus the mind numbing effects of walking to and from that place seems to have drained the creative juices.  The recovery from the latest body smash seems to be progressing but just not fast enough for this non-riding rider - a few sneaky trips to the shops notwithstanding.  Orthopods, osteopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists, acupuncturists and optometrists are all doing their bit to get me back to something resembling the man I once was but it just takes so long.  This time of year usually involves bolting from one festive catchup to another and it's very slow when one has to do it on two feet and very expensive when one uses four wheels.  Patience wears thin and things just don't seem to go as well as they should.  I suppose I should be grateful for the occasional light (an elegant bike workstand that seems to be doing exactly what it's supposed to do or achieving the badly defined confidential performance indicators) but these rarities seem outweighed by the broken bones and buckled wheels that seem determined to blacken an already black mood.  It's that time of year again but it won't be that time of year for long.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Nice Photo Mod

Thanks to one of my few staffers for providing this clever bit of amusement.  I think the original article was ridiculous.  Embarrassingly reporting an overly vocal and completely out-of-touch minority.  I respect all religious behaviour that doesn't hurt anyone else but belief in cursed items that treat women as second class citizens I don't. 

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Could There Be A Batman versus Superman Now?

The latest two "gritty" Batman movies have been pretty well received.  They're obviously part of a wider movement to "grit up" franchises across all genres as opposed to the 70s version of camping them all up.  James Bond, Bourne, Iron Man (was there an earlier movie?  I've never been able to quite forget the cartoons of my childhood which was nothing more than a camera moving across the frames of an open comicbook), Hulk and a slew of others (this saves me from having to name them all).  It's probably a fad but it's producing some pretty great films - there's nothing better than a good superhero movie but grounding them in some sort of reality makes them more believable.  Science and technology is a much better way of being plausible than fantastic or magical explanations. 
Superman - for the most part is not scientific - the scientific explanations of his powers do not hold water at all.  Coming from a really heavy planet with massive gravity would make him evolve into something more like a slug than a man with super strength.  Likewise the yellow sun theories make no sense at all.  His powers which vary from incarnation to incarnation have made him into a veritable god.  The latest version implies that he is God and Lois is his modern Mary Magdelene.  More of a spiritual Superman than a scientific one.  But it must be said that of all the reboots this one seems to really be a continuation of the Christopher Reeve flawed masterpiece (and ultimate fiasco) versin. 
This version of Superman cannot be reconciled with the new Batman but if you've rebooted once you can reboot again.  I think a scientific Superman would be a great addition to the long running cannon.  And it wouldn't necessarily have to be something that hasn't already been done before.  Taking it right back to the beginning his powers were not so supernatural (and occasionally silly).  The original Superman was a really strong, really fast guy with a powerful moral purpose.  But he was "leaping" buildings and not flying into space.  He was stopping locomotives and not the earth's rotation or a roaming asteroid.  And he was outrunning bullets and not the space-time continuum.  A vast reduction of powers would be absolutely essential for Superman to be brought into the "real" world.  Are aliens too far fetched for the new Batman theme?  Well, that depends what kind of alien.  Maybe any variation on Superman would be too far fetched for the direction that Batman has taken but it's feasible if we take it back to where the Last Son of Krypton began. 

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"There can't possibly be anything in there for me."
Why haven't I used this as an excuse before?  For years I've tried to seek out as much content as I possibly could through books and films and have ventured into music, plays, (er) musicals, stand up and other forms of educational entertainment.  With so much content out there it's absolutely impossible to get it all and one must really apply a hard filter in order to synthesise what you can get through.  Trying to define what is worth consuming and what is not (how can you really dismiss something unless you've experienced it?  is my usual excuse for watching cultural garbage).  But for every fluffy D grade teen comedy that I see there are thousands that I just don't have the heart or time to see.  It's very difficult to justify seeing something when you vehemently cut out everything else (Twilight is something I desperately want to resist but the phenome of its popularity is so curious that I just have to "know my enemy").  For all the others I finally have an excuse - the stuff out there that I just cannot generate a modicum of interest can now be discarded with "there can't possibly be anything in there for me".

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Op-Ed Contributor - How to Publish Without Perishing -

Here here, I love books as much as any man but anyone who is anyone
must realise that their day is coming... And the argument that digital
tech Is a western luxury is also fading as projects like olpc and
wimax are enabling the poorest groups in the world enabling the
fastest trickle down in history.

Sent from my iPhone

Ha, this was me!!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


They should make a movie about this ... There's a lot more to being "tech savvy" than owning a 2G IPhone ...

Here Here!

For once an economist who people actually listen to has actually spoken up about one of the premier whinges of our time. 
In a perfect world tertiary education would be free but unfortunately it's not - and in some ways that's actually a good thing.  It costs money to give students those specialised skills which are going to give those graduating students a vastly improved earning potential (perhaps not the Arts students but that's besides the point) - so many employers want to see their potential employees have that "piece of paper" which, in lieu of real business experience, is potential proof that the would be employee is capable of doing actual work.  Going to university is also (apparently) a great experience which besides giving students the start to a real world work ethic, also exposes them to new politics, academic expertise and is a transitional period between high school and the real world.  These institutions cost money and believe it or not a huge number of young people miss out because they didn't get the marks, don't feel the need or basically just don't like the institution.  When tertiary education is free it means that everyone is paying for it through their tax dollars and why should they when they're not necessarily going to get the benefit from that piece of paper (or, let's stretch it, doesn't get the benefit of gaining those valuable skills that one might gain from university).
Now, there is far more to gain from uni than increased earning potential but the point is that a lot of people don't go and they shouldn't be burdened with the cost of running these institutions.  I'm not calling for an American styled system where the students pay all but the Australian HECS system is the best system that I've seen.  As Mr Gittins points out the HECS debt is never a burden - you only have to start paying it off once you've gained that relatively high income that is a direct benefit of that piece of paper, and it's always proportional to your earnings.  There is no time limit on paying it off unlike even liberal countries like Canadia and unlike most debts you're never going to have to sell your house or assets to pay it off.  Every time I hear someone with a $50k salary (which is, let's face it, still pretty good) whining about their HECS debt it makes me want to lecture them with the same story I've lectured readers of this rant on.